US20150332300A1 - Automated system for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of items - Google Patents

Automated system for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of items Download PDF

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US20150332300A1
US20150332300A1 US14/808,854 US201514808854A US2015332300A1 US 20150332300 A1 US20150332300 A1 US 20150332300A1 US 201514808854 A US201514808854 A US 201514808854A US 2015332300 A1 US2015332300 A1 US 2015332300A1
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metric
data
item
predefined
value
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US14/808,854
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US9412117B2 (en
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Valerie Hansen
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BuyMetrics Inc
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BuyMetrics Inc
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Priority to US09/607,502 priority Critical patent/US7043457B1/en
Priority to US11/394,540 priority patent/US7840462B2/en
Priority to US12/952,083 priority patent/US7966240B2/en
Priority to US13/118,351 priority patent/US8224729B2/en
Priority to US13/475,900 priority patent/US8321317B2/en
Priority to US13/597,200 priority patent/US8442888B2/en
Priority to US13/869,942 priority patent/US8762258B2/en
Priority to US14/262,682 priority patent/US9092825B2/en
Priority to US14/740,630 priority patent/US9418371B2/en
Priority to US14/808,854 priority patent/US9412117B2/en
Application filed by BuyMetrics Inc filed Critical BuyMetrics Inc
Publication of US20150332300A1 publication Critical patent/US20150332300A1/en
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Abstract

A system including a service provider server receives product specification data sets or price data sets. The service provider server invokes an evaluation service that causes a metric application to obtain metric data including market reference price data for responsive items at a particular time or period of time. Attribute data for responsive items is algorithmically processed to dynamically identify any differences. The identified differences are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item. One or more adjustment values are generated and applied to the market reference price data for a responsive item that differs by at least one parameter value, transforming the market reference price data into normalized metric data that is used to generate a normalized metric value. One or more of the received data sets and the respective normalized metric value are communicated to a remotely located user-agent computing device.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • 1. Technical Field
  • This present disclosure generally relates to electronic commerce software applications and, more particularly, to evaluating prices and transactions for purchasing.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Commodity items such as lumber, agricultural products, metals, and livestock/meat are usually traded in the open market between a number of buyers and sellers. The sales transactions of most commodity items involve a number of parameters. For instance, in the trade of commodity lumber, a buyer usually orders materials by specifying parameters such as lumber species, grade, size (i.e., 2×4, 2×10, etc.), and quantity (size of order), as well as the “tally” or mix of units of various lengths within the shipment, method of transportation (i.e., rail or truck), shipping terms (i.e., FOB or delivered), payment terms, and desired date of receipt, with each parameter influencing the value of the commodity purchase. Given the multiple possible combinations of factors, a commodity buyer often finds it difficult to objectively compare similar but unequal offerings among competing vendors.
  • For example, in a case where a lumber buyer desires to order a railcar load of spruce (SPF) 2×4's of #2 & Better grade, the buyer would query vendors offering matching species and grade carloads seeking the best match for the buyer's need or tally preference at the lowest market price. Lumber carloads are quoted at a price per thousand board feet for all material on the railcar. When the quoted parameters are not identical, it is very difficult for buyers to determine the comparative value of unequal offerings.
  • Typically, a lumber buyer will find multiple vendors each having different offerings available. For example, a railcar of SPF 2×4's may be quoted at a rate of $300/MBF (thousand board feet) by multiple vendors. Even though the MBF price is equal, one vendor's carload may represent significantly greater marketplace value because it contains the more desirable lengths of 2×4's, such as market-preferred 16-foot 2×4's. When the offering price varies in addition to the tally of lengths, it becomes increasingly difficult to compare quotes from various vendors. Further, because construction projects often require long lead times, the lumber product may need to be priced now, but not delivered until a time in the future. Alternately, another species of lumber (i.e., southern pine) may represent an acceptable substitute. Therefore, from the foregoing, there is a need for a method and system that allows buyers to evaluate the price of commodity offerings possessing varying parameters.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • Described herein is a computing system that operates in a networked service provider environment. In at least one aspect, the system comprises a service provider server that includes a network interface, a non-transitory computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions stored thereon, and a processor in communication with the network interface and the computer-readable medium. The processor is configured to execute the computer-executable instructions stored on the computer-readable medium. When executed, the computer-executable instructions implement a metric manager and a metric application.
  • The metric manager is programmed to manage at least one evaluation service and a plurality of predefined instructions for adapting metric data. The metric application is programmed to manage invocation of the at least one evaluation service and execution of one or more predefined instructions for adapting metric data that pertain to the at least one evaluation service. The metric application is further programmed to manage one or more interfaces that facilitate communications with the service provider server.
  • In at least one aspect of the present disclosure, the metric application, in operation, configures the service provider server to receive, from a remotely located user-agent computing device one or more product specification data sets or price data sets. Each received data set identifies at least one item defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that includes two or more parameter values, or identifies a plurality of items defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value. The parameter value or values represent attributes that are variable for the at least one item or items.
  • For at least one received data set, the metric application invokes the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one normalized metric value for at least one item identified in the received data set. Invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain, from at least one data source accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item identified in the received data set. Each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value. The metric data includes market reference price data for the one or more responsive items at a particular time or period of time. At least one responsive item in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the at least one item as identified in the received data set. The metric application algorithmically processes the attribute data for each responsive item in the metric data and the attribute data of the at least one item identified in the received data set to dynamically identify any differences. The identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data.
  • Invoking the at least one evaluation service further causes the metric application to normalize the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data. Execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for the at least one responsive item that differs by at least one parameter value, transforming the market reference price data and producing normalized metric data for the at least one item. The metric application generates the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the received data set using the normalized metric data produced for the at least one item.
  • The metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, one or more of the received data sets and the respective at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the communicated data sets, to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device from which the one or more data sets were received.
  • In another aspect of the present disclosure, the metric application, in operation, configures the service provider server to retrieve, from one or more data storages accessible to the service provider server, at least one normalized metric value previously generated by the service provider server for at least one item. The at least one item is defined by a plurality of attributes including two or more parameter values, or includes two or more items that are defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value, wherein the parameter values or value represents an attribute that is variable for the identified item or items.
  • For the at least one retrieved normalized metric value, the metric application invokes the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item. Invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain, from at least one source of metric data accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item. Each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value. The metric data includes market reference price data associated with the one or more items at a particular time or period of time, and includes more current data than metric data previously used to generate the at least one normalized metric value retrieved from the one or more data storages or excludes metric data for an item that is no longer responsive to the at least one item or no longer represents market reference price data associated with the one or more items. At least one responsive item in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the at least one item for which at least one normalized metric value was previously generated.
  • For each responsive item in the metric data, the metric application algorithmically processes the attribute data of the responsive item and the attribute data of the at least one item to dynamically identify any differences, wherein the identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data. The metric application normalizes the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive items in the metric data. Execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for at least one responsive item that differs by at least one parameter value from the at least one item for which at least one normalized metric value was previously generated, transforming the market reference price data and producing more-current normalized metric data for the at least one item. The metric application generates at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item using the more-current normalized metric data produced for the at least one item. The metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one more-current normalized metric value to at least one output.
  • In yet another aspect of the present disclosure, upon occurrence of a predefined event, at a predefined time, or over a predefined interval of time, the metric application retrieves at least one previously processed product specification data set or price data set from one or more data storages or data sources accessible to the service provider server. The at least one retrieved data set identifies at least one item defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that includes two or more parameter values, or identifies a plurality of items defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value. The parameter value or values represent attributes that are variable for the at least one item or items.
  • For at least one retrieved data set, the metric application invokes the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one normalized metric value for at least one item identified in the retrieved data set. Invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain, from at least one source of metric data accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item in the retrieved data set. Each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value. The metric data includes market reference price data associated with the one or more items at a particular time or period of time. One or more responsive items in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set.
  • The metric application algorithmically processes the attribute data for each responsive item in the metric data and the attribute data of the at least one item in the retrieved data set to dynamically identify any differences. The identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data. The metric application normalizes the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive items in the metric data. Execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for the one or more responsive items that differ by at least one parameter value from the at least one item in the received data set, transforming the market reference price data and producing normalized metric data for the at least one item. The metric application generates at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set using the normalized metric data produced for the at least one item.
  • The metric application is further programmed to use the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set in at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the at least one retrieved data set, via the network interface, to at least one remotely-located computing device.
  • In still another aspect of the present disclosure, upon occurrence of a predefined event, at a predefined time, or over a predefined interval of time, the metric application configures the service provider server to invoke the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one normalized metric value for one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service. The one or more items are predefined by a plurality of attributes, wherein at least one item is defined by attribute data that includes two or more predefined parameter values, or a plurality of items are defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one predefined parameter value. Invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain, from at least one data source accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of an item predefined and preassociated with the at least one evaluation service. Each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value. The metric data includes market reference price data for the one or more responsive items at a particular time or period of time. At least one responsive item in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service.
  • The metric application algorithmically processes the attribute data for each responsive item in the metric data and the attribute data of the at least one item as predefined and preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to dynamically identify any differences. The identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data. The metric application normalizes the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive items in the metric data. Execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for the one or more responsive items that differ by at least one parameter value, transforming the market reference price data and producing normalized metric data for the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service.
  • The metric application generates the at least one normalized metric value for one or more of the items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, using the normalized metric data produced for the one or more items. The metric application is further programmed to use the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service in at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, to at least one other computing device, via the network interface.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of the present disclosure will become more readily appreciated as the same become better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a prior art representative portion of the Internet;
  • FIG. 2 is a pictorial diagram of a system of devices connected to the Internet, which depict the travel route of data;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of the several components of the buyer's computer shown in FIG. 2 that is used to request information on a particular route;
  • FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the several components of an information server shown in FIG. 2 that is used to supply information on a particular route;
  • FIG. 5 is a flow diagram illustrating the logic of a routine used by the information server to receive and process the buyer's actions;
  • FIGS. 6A-6B are flow diagrams illustrating another embodiment of the logic used by the information server to receive and process the quotes and quote requests of both buyers and vendors;
  • FIG. 7 is a flow diagram illustrating another embodiment of the logic used by the information server to execute the process of a catalog purchase;
  • FIGS. 8A-8D are images of windows produced by a Web browser application installed on a client computer accessing a server illustrating one embodiment of the present disclosure; and
  • FIG. 9 is a flow diagram illustrating one embodiment of the normalization process described herein.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The term “Internet” refers to the collection of networks and routers that use the Internet Protocol (IP) to communicate with one another. A representative section of the Internet 100 as known in the prior art is shown in FIG. 1 in which a plurality of local area networks (LANs) 120 and a wide area network (WAN) 110 are interconnected by routers 125. The routers 125 are generally special-purpose computers used to interface one LAN or WAN to another. Communication links within the LANs may be twisted wire pair, or coaxial cable, while communication links between networks may utilize 56 Kbps analog telephone lines, or 1 Mbps digital T-1 lines, and/or 45 Mbps T-3 lines. Further, computers and other related electronic devices can be remotely connected to either the LANs 120 or the WAN 110 via a modem and temporary telephone link. Such computers and electronic devices 130 are shown in FIG. 1 as connected to one of the LANs 120 via dotted lines. It will be appreciated that the Internet comprises a vast number of such interconnected networks, computers, and routers and that only a small representative section of the Internet 100 is shown in FIG. 1.
  • The World Wide Web (WWW), on the other hand, is a vast collection of interconnected, electronically stored information located on servers connected throughout the Internet 100. Many companies are now providing services and access to their content over the Internet 100 using the WWW. In accordance with the present disclosure, and as shown in FIG. 2, there may be a plurality of buyers operating a plurality of client computing devices 235. FIG. 2 generally shows a system 200 of computers and devices to which an information server 230 is connected and to which the buyers' computers 235 are also connected. Also connected to the Internet 100 is a plurality of computing devices 250 associated with a plurality of sellers. The system 200 also includes a communications program, referred to as CEA, which is used on the sellers' computing devices 250 to create a communication means between the sellers' backend office software and the server applications.
  • The buyers of a market commodity may, through their computers 235, request information about a plurality of items or order over the Internet 100 via a Web browser installed on the buyers' computers. Responsive to such requests, the information server 230, also referred to as a server 230, may combine the first buyer's information with information from other buyers on other computing devices 235. The server 230 then transmits the combined buyer data to the respective computing devices 250 associated with the plurality of buyers. Details of this process are described in more detail below in association with FIGS. 5-7.
  • Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that in other embodiments of the present disclosure, the capabilities of the server 230 and/or the client computing devices 235 and 250 may all be embodied in the other configurations. Consequently, it would be appreciated that in these embodiments, the server 230 could be located on any computing device associated with the buyers' or sellers' computing devices. Additionally, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that while only four buyer computing devices 235, four seller computing devices 250, and one server 230 are depicted in FIG. 2, numerous configurations involving a vast number of buyer and seller computing devices and a plurality of servers 230, equipped with the hardware and software components described below, may be connected to the Internet 100.
  • FIG. 3 depicts several of the key components of the buyer's client computing device 235. As known in the art, client computing devices 235 are also referred to as “clients” or “devices,” and client computing devices 235 also include other devices such as palm computing devices, cellular telephones, or other like forms of electronics. A client computing device can also be the same computing device as the server 230. An “agent” can be a person, server, or a client computing device 235 having software configured to assist the buyer in making purchasing decisions based on one or more buyer-determined parameters. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the buyer's computer 235 in actual practice will include many more components than those shown in FIG. 3. However, it is not necessary that all of these generally conventional components be shown in order to disclose an illustrative embodiment for practicing the present invention. As shown in FIG. 3, the buyer's computer includes a network interface 315 for connecting to the Internet 100. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the network interface 315 includes the necessary circuitry for such a connection and is also constructed for use with TCP/IP protocol.
  • The buyer's computer 235 also includes a processing unit 305, a display 310, and a memory 300, all interconnected along with the network interface 315 via a bus 360. The memory 300 generally comprises a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), and a permanent mass storage device, such as a disk drive. The memory 300 stores the program code necessary for requesting and/or depicting a desired route over the Internet 100 in accordance with the present disclosure. More specifically, the memory 300 stores a Web browser 330, such as Netscape's NAVIGATOR® or Microsoft's INTERNET EXPLORER® browsers, used in accordance with the present disclosure for depicting a desired route over the Internet 100. In addition, memory 300 also stores an operating system 320 and a communications application 325. It will be appreciated that these software components may be stored on a computer-readable medium and loaded into memory 300 of the buyers' computer 235 using a drive mechanism associated with the computer-readable medium, such as a floppy, tape, or CD-ROM drive.
  • As will be described in more detail below, the user interface which allows products to be ordered by the buyers are supplied by a remote server, i.e., the information server 230 located elsewhere on the Internet, as illustrated in FIG. 2. FIG. 4 depicts several of the key components of the information server 230. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the information server 230 includes many more components than shown in FIG. 4. However, it is not necessary that all of these generally conventional components be shown in order to disclose an illustrative embodiment for practicing the present invention. As shown in FIG. 4, the information server 230 is connected to the Internet 100 via a network interface 410. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the network interface 410 includes the necessary circuitry for connecting the information server 230 to the Internet 100, and is constructed for use with TCP/IP protocol.
  • The information server 230 also includes a processing unit 415, a display 440, and a mass memory 450, all interconnected along with the network interface 410 via a bus 460. The mass memory 450 generally comprises a random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), and a permanent mass storage device, such as a hard disk drive, tape drive, optical drive, floppy disk drive, or combination thereof. The mass memory 450 stores the program code and data necessary for incident and route analysis as well as supplying the results of that analysis to consumers in accordance with the present disclosure. More specifically, the mass memory 450 stores a metrics application 425 formed in accordance with the present disclosure for managing the purchase forums of commodities products, and a metric server adapter 435 for managing metric data. In addition, mass memory 450 stores a database 445 of buyer information continuously logged by the information server 230 for statistical market analysis. It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the database 445 of product and buyer information may also be stored on other servers or storage devices connected to either the information server 230 or the Internet 100. Finally, mass memory 450 stores Web server software 430 for handling requests for stored information received via the Internet 100 and the WWW, and an operating system 420. It will be appreciated that the aforementioned software components may be stored on a computer-readable medium and loaded into mass memory 450 of the information server 230 using a drive mechanism associated with the computer-readable medium, such as floppy, tape, or CD-ROM drive. In addition, the data stored in the mass memory 450 and other memory can be “exposed” to other computers or persons for purposes of communicating data. Thus, “exposing” data from a computing device could mean transmitting data to another device or person, transferring XML data packets, transferring data within the same computer, or other like forms of data communications.
  • In accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure, FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating the logic implemented for the creation of a Request for Quote (RFQ) by a singular buyer or a pool of buyers. In process of FIG. 5, also referred to as the pooling process 500, a buyer or a pool of buyers generate an RFQ which is displayed or transmitted to a plurality of sellers. Responsive to receiving the RFQ, the sellers then send quotes to the buyers.
  • In summary, the creation of the RFQ consists of at least one buyer initially entering general user identification information to initiate the process. The buyer would then define a Line Item on a Web page displaying an RFQ form. The Line Item is defined per industry specification and units of product are grouped as a “tally” per industry practice. The pooling process 500 allows buyers to combine RFQ Line Items with other buyers with like needs. In one embodiment, the pool buy feature is created by a graphical user interface where the RFQ Line Items from a plurality of buyers are displayed on a Web page to one of the pool buyers, referred to as the pool administrator. The server 230 also provides a Web-based feature allowing the pool administrator to selectively add each RFQ Line Item to one combined RFQ. The combined RFQ is then sent to at least one vendor or seller. This feature provides a forum for pooling the orders of many buyers, which allows individual entities or divisions of larger companies to advantageously bid for larger orders, thus providing them with more bidding power and the possibility of gaining a lower price.
  • The pooling process 500 begins in step 501 where a buyer initiates the process by providing buyer purchase data. In step 501, the buyer accesses a Web page transmitted from the server 230 configured to receive the buyer purchase data, also referred to as the product specification data set or the Line Item data. One exemplary Web page for the logic of step 501 is depicted in FIG. 8A. As shown in FIG. 8A, the buyer enters the Line Item data specifications in the fields of the Web page. The Line Item data consists of lumber species and grade 803, number of pieces per unit 804, quantities of the various units comprising the preferred assortment in the tally 805A-E, delivery method 806, delivery date 807, delivery location 808, and the overall quantity 809. In one embodiment, the buyer must define the delivery date as either contemporaneous “on-or-before” delivery date or specify a delivery date in the future for a “Forward Price” RFQ. In addition, the buyer selects a metric or multiple metrics in a field 810 per RFQ Line Item (tally). As described in more detail below, the metric provides pricing data that is used as a reference point for the buyer to compare the various quotes returned from the sellers. The buyer RFQ Line Item data is then stored in the memory of the server 230.
  • Returning to FIG. 5, at a next step 503, the server 230 determines if the buyer is going to participate in a pool buy. In the process of decision block 503, the server 230 provides an option in a Web page that allows the buyer to post their Line Item data to a vendor or post their Line Item data to a buyer pool. The window illustrated in FIG. 8A is one exemplary Web page illustrating these options for a buyer. As shown in FIG. 8A, the links “Post Buyer Pool” 812 and “Post to Vendors” 814 are provided on the RFQ Web page.
  • At step 503, if the buyer does not elect to participate in a pool buy, the process continues to step 513 where the server 230 generates a request for a quote (RFQ) from the buyer's Line Item data. A detailed description of how the server 230 generates a request for a quote (RFQ) is summarized below and referred to as the purchase order process 600A depicted in FIG. 6A.
  • Alternatively, at decision block 503, if the buyer elects to participate in a pool buy, the process continues to step 505 where the system notifies other buyers logged into the server 230 that an RFQ is available in a pool, allowing other buyers to add additional Line Items (tallies) to the RFQ. In this part of the process, the Line Items from each buyer are received by and stored in the server memory. The Line Items provided by each buyer in the pool are received by the server 230 using the same process as described above with reference to block 501 and the Web page of FIG. 8A. All of the Line Items stored on the server 230 are then displayed to a pool administrator via a Web page or an e-mail message. In one embodiment, the pool administrator is one of the buyers in a pool where the pool administrator has the capability to select all of the Line Item data to generate a combined RFQ. The server 230 provides the pool administrator with this capability by the use of any Web-based communicative device, such as e-mail or HTML forms. As part of the process, as shown in steps 507 and 509, the pool may be left open for a predetermined period of time to allow additional buyers to add purchase data to the current RFQ.
  • At decision block 509, the server 230 determines if the pool administrator has closed the pool. The logic of this step 509 is executed when the server 230 receives the combined RFQ data from the pool administrator. The pool administrator can send the combined RFQ data to the server 230 via an HTML form or by other electronic messaging means such as e-mail or URL strings. Once the server 230 has determined that the pool is closed, the process continues to block 510 where the Line Items from each buyer (the combined RFQ) are sent to all of the buyers in the pool. The process then continues to step 513 where the server 230 sends the combined RFQ to the vendors or sellers.
  • Referring now to FIG. 6A, one embodiment of the purchase-negotiation process 600 is disclosed. The purchase-negotiation process 600 is also referred to as a solicited offer process or the market purchase process. In summary, the purchase-negotiation process 600 allows at least one buyer to submit an RFQ and then view quotes from a plurality of vendors and purchase items from selected vendor(s). The logic of FIG. 6A provides buyers with a forum that automatically manages, collects, and normalizes the price of desired commodity items. The purchase-negotiation process 600 calculates a normalized price data set that is based on a predefined metric(s). The calculation of the normalized price data set in combination with the format of the Web pages described herein create an integrated forum where quotes for a plurality of inherently dissimilar products can be easily obtained and compared.
  • The purchase-negotiation process 600 begins at step 601 where the RFQ, as generated by one buyer or a pool of buyers in the process depicted in FIG. 5, is sent to a plurality of computing devices 250 associated with a plurality of sellers or vendors. The vendors receive the RFQ via a Web page transmitted by the server 230. In one embodiment, the vendors receive an e-mail message having a hypertext link to the RFQ Web page to provide notice to the vendor. Responsive to the information in the buyers' RFQ, the process then continues to step 603 where at least one vendor sends their quote information to the server 230.
  • In the process of step 603, the vendors respond to the RFQ by sending their price quote to the server 230 for display via a Web page to the buyer or buyer pool. Generally described, the vendors send an HTML form or an e-mail message with a price and description of the order. The description of the order in the quote message contains the same order information as the RFQ.
  • FIG. 8B illustrates one exemplary Web page of a vendor quote that is displayed to the buyer. As shown in FIG. 8B, the vendor quote includes the vendor's price 813, the lumber species and grade 803, number of pieces per unit 804, quantities of the various units comprising the preferred assortment in the tally 805A-E, delivery method 806, delivery date 807, and delivery location 808. In the quote response message, the vendor has the capability to modify any of the information that was submitted in the RFQ. For example, the vendor may edit the quantity values for the various units comprising the preferred assortment in the tally 805A-E. This allows the vendor to adjust the buyer's request according to the vendor's inventory, best means of transportation, etc. All of the vendor's quote information is referred to as price data set or the RFQ Line Item (tally) quote.
  • Returning to FIG. 6A, the process continues to step 605, where the server 230 normalizes the price of each RFQ Line Item (tally) quote from each vendor. The normalization of the vendor's price is a computation that evaluates the vendor's price utilizing data from a metric. The normalization process is carried out because each vendor may respond to the Line Items of an RFQ by quoting products that are different from a buyer's RFQ and/or have a different tally configuration. The normalization of the pricing allows the buyers to objectively compare the relative value of the different products offered by the plurality of vendors. For example, one vendor may produce a quote for an RFQ of one unit of 2×4×12, two units of 2×4×12, and three units of 2×4×16. At the same time, another vendor may submit a quote for three units of 2×4×12, one unit of 2×4×12, and two units of 2×4×16. Even though there is some difference between these two offerings, the price normalization process provides a means for the buyer to effectively compare and evaluate the different quotes even though there are variations in the products. The price normalization process 900 is described in more detail below in conjunction with the flow diagram of FIG. 9.
  • Returning again to FIG. 6A, at step 607 the vendor's quote information is communicated to the buyer's computer for display. As shown in FIG. 8B and described in detail above, the vendor's quote is displayed via a Web page that communicates the vendor's quote price 813 and other purchase information. In addition, the vendor's quote page contains a metric price 815 and a quote price versus metric price ratio 816. The metric price 815 and the quote price versus metric price ratio 816 are also referred to as a normalized price data value. A ratio higher than one (1) indicates a quote price that is above the metric price, and a lower ratio indicates a quote price that is below the metric price.
  • Next, at step 609, the buyer or the administrator of the buyer pool compares the various products and prices quoted by the vendors along with the normalized price for each Line Item on the RFQ. In this part of the process, the buyer may decide to purchase one of the products from a particular vendor and sends a notification to the selected vendor indicating the same. The buyer notifies the selected vendor by the use of an electronic means via the server 230, such as an HTML form, a chat window, e-mail, etc. For example, the quote Web page depicted in FIG. 8B shows two different quotes with two different tallies, the first quote price 813 of $360, and the second quote price 813A of $320. If the buyer determines that they prefer to purchase the materials listed in the first quote, the buyer selects the “Buy!” hyperlink 820 or 820A associated with the desired tally.
  • If the buyer is not satisfied with any of the listed vendor quotes, the server 230 allows the buyer to further negotiate with one or more of the vendors to obtain a new quote. This step is shown in decision block 611, where the buyer makes the determination to either accept a quoted price or proceed to step 613 where they negotiate with the vendor to obtain another quote or present a counter-offer. Here, the server 230 provides a graphical user interface configured to allow the buyer and one vendor to electronically communicate, using, e.g., a chat window, streaming voice communications, or other standard methods of communication. There are many forms of electronic communications known in the art that can be used to allow the buyer and vendors to communicate.
  • The buyer and seller negotiate various quotes and iterate through several steps 603-613 directed by the server 230, where each quote is normalized, compared, and further negotiated until a quote is accepted by the buyer or negotiations cease. While the buyer and seller negotiate the various quotes, the server 230 stores each quote until the two parties agree on a price. At any step during the negotiation process, the system always presents the buyer with an option to terminate the negotiation if dissatisfied with the quote(s).
  • At decision block 611, when a buyer agrees on a quoted price, the process then continues to step 615 where the buyer sends a notification message to the vendor indicating they have accepted a quote. As described above with reference to steps 603-613, the buyer notification message of step 615 may be in the form of a message on a chat window, e-mail, by an HTML form, or the like. However, the buyer notification must be transmitted in a format that allows the system to record the transaction. The buyer notification may include all of the information regarding the specifications by RFQ Line Item, such as, but not limited to, the buy price, date, and method of shipment, and payment terms.
  • The purchase-negotiation process 600 is then finalized when the system, as shown in step 617, sends a confirmation message to a tracking system. The confirmation message includes all of the information related to the agreed sales transaction.
  • Optionally, the process includes step 619, where the server 230 stores all of the information related to RFQ, offers, and the final sales transaction in a historical database. This would allow the server 230 to use all of the transaction information in an analysis process for providing an improved method of obtaining a lower market price in future transactions and in identifying optimum purchasing strategy. The analysis process is described in further detail below. Although the illustrated embodiment is configured to store the data related to the sales transactions, the system can also be configured to store all of the iterative quote information exchanged between the buyer and vendor.
  • Referring now to FIG. 6B, an embodiment of the unsolicited offer process 650 is disclosed. In summary, the unsolicited offer process 650, also referred to as the unsolicited market purchase process, allows at least one buyer to view unsolicited offers from a plurality of vendors and purchase items from a plurality of vendors from the offers. The logic of FIG. 6B provides buyers with a forum that automatically manages, collects, and normalizes price quotes based on metric data. By the price normalization method of FIG. 6B, the server 230 creates an integrated forum where offers from a plurality of inherently dissimilar products can be obtained and normalized for determination of purchase.
  • The unsolicited offer process 650 begins at step 651 where the plurality of vendors is able to submit offers to the server 230. This part of the process is executed in a manner similar to step 603 of FIG. 6A, where the vendor submits a quote to the server 230. However, in the Web page of step 651, the server 230 generates a Web page containing several tallies from many different vendors. In addition, at step 651, the server 230 stores all of the unsolicited offer data provided by the vendors.
  • Next, at step 653, a buyer views the offers stored on the server 230. This part of the process is carried out in a manner similar to the process of step 603 or 607 where the server 230 displays a plurality of offers similar to the tallies depicted in FIG. 8A.
  • Next, at step 655, the buyer selects a metric for the calculation of the normalized price associated with the selected offer. As described in more detail below, metrics may come from publicly available information, i.e., price of futures contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, subscription services such as Crowes™ or Random Lengths™ accessed via the metric server adapter 435 (shown in FIG. 4), or internally generated metrics derived from the data stored in the server 230. The normalization calculation, otherwise referred to as the normalization process, occurs each time the buyer views a different offer, and the normalization calculation uses the most current metric data for each calculation. The normalization process is carried out because each vendor will most likely offer products that may vary from products of other vendors and have a different tally configuration from those supplied by other vendors. The normalization of the pricing allows the buyers to compare the relative value of the different products offered by the number of vendors. The metric price for each selected offer is displayed in a similar manner as the metric price 815 and 816 shown in the Web page of FIG. 8B.
  • Next, at decision block 657, the buyer selects at least one offer for purchase. This is similar to the process of FIG. 6A in that the buyer selects the “Buy!” hyperlink 820 associated with the desired tally to purchase an order. The process then continues to steps 659-663, where, at step 659, the process transmits a buy notice to the vendor, then, at step 661, sends a purchase confirmation to the tracking system, and then, at step 663, saves the transaction data in the server database. The steps 659-663 are carried out in the same manner as the steps 615-619 of FIG. 6A. In the above-described process, the buyer notification may include all of the information regarding the specifications by RFQ Line Item, and data such as, but not limited to, the buy price, date, and method of shipment, and the payment terms.
  • Referring now to FIG. 7, a flow diagram illustrating yet another embodiment of the present disclosure is shown. FIG. 7 illustrates the catalog purchase process 700. This embodiment allows buyers to search for a catalog price of desired commerce items, enter their purchase data based on the pre-negotiated catalog prices, and to compare those catalog prices with a selected metric price and the current market price, wherein the current market price is determined by the purchase-negotiation process 600.
  • The process starts at step 701 where the buyer selects a program buy catalog 443. The program buy catalog 443 provides buyers with the published or pre-negotiated price of the desired products. Next, at step 703, based on the catalog information, the buyer then enters their purchase data. Similar to step 501 of FIG. 5 and the tally shown in FIG. 8A, the buyer sends purchase data to the server 230, such as the desired quantity of each item and the lumber species, grade, etc.
  • The process then proceeds to decision block 707 where the buyer makes a determination of whether to purchase the items using the catalog price or purchase the desired product in the open market. Here, the server 230 allows the user to make this determination by displaying the metric price of each catalog price. This format is similar to the metric price 815 and 816 displayed in FIG. 8B.
  • At decision block 707, if the buyer determines that the catalog price is better than a selected metric price, the process then proceeds to steps 709, 711, and 713, where a program buy from the catalog is executed, and the buyer's purchase information is stored on the server 230 and sent to the vendor's system to confirm the sale. These steps 711-713 are carried out in the same manner as the confirmation and save steps 617 and 619 as shown in FIG. 6A.
  • At decision block 707, if the buyer determines that the metric price is better than the catalog price, the process continues to step 717 where the buyer's purchase data is entered into an RFQ. At this step, the process carries out the first five steps 601-609 of the method of FIG. 6A to provide buyers with the price data from the open market, as well as provide the normalized prices for each open market quote. At step 719, the server 230 then displays a Web page that allows the user to select from a purchase option of a catalog or spot (market) purchase. At decision block 721, based on the displayed information, the buyer will then have an opportunity to make a determination of whether they will proceed with a catalog purchase or an open market purchase.
  • At decision block 721, if the buyer proceeds with the catalog purchase, the process continues to step 709 where the catalog purchase is executed. Steps 709-713 used to carry out the catalog purchase are the same as if the buyer had selected the catalog purchase in step 707. However, if at decision block 721 the buyer selects the option to proceed with the market purchase, the process continues to step 723 where the RFQ generated in step 717 is sent to the vendor. Here, the process carries out the steps of FIG. 6 to complete the open market purchase. More specifically, the process continues to step 609 where the buyer compares the normalized prices from each vendor. Once a vendor is selected, the negotiation process of steps 603-613 is carried out until the buyer decides to execute the purchase. Next, the transaction steps 615-619 are carried out to confirm the purchase, notify the tracking system, and save the transactional data on the historical database.
  • Optionally, the process can include a step where the server 230 stores all of the information related to program buy and metric comparisons and the final sales transaction in a historical database. This would allow the server 230 to use all of the transaction information in an analysis process for providing an improved method of obtaining the value of the program. Although the illustrated embodiment is configured to store the data related to the sales transactions, the system can also be configured to store all of the iterative quote information exchanged between the buyer and vendor.
  • The analysis process allows the server 230 to utilize the sales history records stored in steps 619 and 711 to generate price reports for communication to various third parties as well as provide a means of calculating current market prices for products sold in the above-described methods. The sales history records are also used as the source for a metric, such as those used in the process of FIGS. 6A, 6B, and 7. As shown in steps 619, 663, and 711, the server 230 continually updates the historical database for each sales transaction. The analysis reporting process allows a buyer or manager of buyers to conduct analysis on the historical information. This analysis would include multi-value cross compilation for purposes of determining purchasing strategies, buyer effectiveness, program performance, vendor performance, and measuring effectiveness of forward pricing as a risk management strategy.
  • Referring now to FIG. 9, a flow diagram illustrating the logic of the normalization process 900 is shown. The logic of the normalization process 900 resides on the server 230 and processes the quotes received from commodity sellers. The logic begins at step 905 where quote data is obtained from the seller in response to the buyer's RFQ as described above.
  • Next, at step 910, routine 900 iteratively calculates the board footage (BF) of each type of lumber. Once all the totals are calculated for each type, routine 900 continues to step 915 where the server 230 calculates the total type price.
  • At step 915, routine 900 iteratively calculates the total type price for the amount of each type of lumber specified in the quote. This is accomplished by taking the total board footage (BF) calculated in block 910 and multiplying the total BF by the price per MBF specified in the quote. Once all the prices are calculated for each type, routine 900 continues to step 920 where the server 230 calculates the total quoted price. At step 920, the routine 900 calculates the total price for the quote by summing all of the total type prices calculated at step 915.
  • At step 925, routine 900 iteratively retrieves the most current price for each type of lumber specified in the quote from a predefined metric source(s). Metrics may come from publicly available information, i.e., price of futures contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, subscription service publications such as Crowes™ or Random Lengths™ accessed via the metric server adapter 435 (shown in FIG. 4), or internally generated metrics derived from the server database. Once all the prices are retrieved for each type, at step 930, the routine 900 then iteratively calculates the market price for the quantity of each type of lumber in the quote. Once the totals for all types are calculated, routine 900 continues to step 935 where the routine 900 calculates the total market price for the quote by summing all the most current prices calculated in step 930. Although this example illustrates that steps 910-920 are executed before steps 925-935, these two groups of steps can be executed in any order, or in parallel, so long as they are both executed before a comparison step 940.
  • At step 940, routine 900 compares the total quoted to the metric price to arrive at a comparative value. In one exemplary embodiment of the current invention, the comparative value is a “percent of metric” value. A value higher than one hundred (100) percent indicates a price that is above the metric rate, and a lower percent indicates a price that is below the metric rate.
  • The operation of routine 900 can be further illustrated through an example utilizing specific exemplary data. In the example, a buyer sends out a request for a quote (RFQ) requesting a lot of 2×4 S&B lumber consisting of five units of 2″×4″×8′, two units of 2″×4″×14′, and five units of 2″×4″×16′. The buyer then receives quotes from three sellers. Seller A responds with a tally of six units of 2″×4″×8′, four units of 2″×4″×14′, and three units of 2″×4″×16′ for $287 per thousand board feet. Seller B responds with a lot of five units of 2″×4″×8′, one unit of 2″×4″×14′, and six units of 2″×4″×16′ for $283 per thousand board feet. Seller C responds with a lot of one unit of 2″×4″×8′, five units of 2″×4″×14′, and five units of 2″×4″×16′ for $282 per thousand board feet. Suppose also that the typical unit size is 294 pieces/unit, and the metric or reported market price for 2″×4″×8's is $287.50, for 2″×4″×14's is $278.50, and for 2″×4″×16′ is $288.
  • Viewing the MBF prices for the respective quotes is not particularly informative, given that certain lengths of lumber are more desirable and priced accordingly in the marketplace. By processing the quote from Seller A using routine 900, we arrive at a total MBF of 29.792, giving a total quoted price of $8,550.30. The selected metric price for the same types and quantities of lumber would be $8,471.12; therefore, the quoted price would have a percent of market value of 100.93%. Processing the quote from Seller B using routine 900, we arrive at a total MBF of 29.400, giving a total quoted price of $8,320.20. The selected metric price for the same types and quantities of lumber, however, would be $8,437.21; therefore, the quoted price would have a percent of market value of 98.61%. Finally, processing the quote from Seller C using routine 900, we arrive at a total MBF of 30.968, giving a total quoted price of $8,732.98. The selected metric price for the same types and quantities of lumber, however, would be $8,767.66; therefore, the quoted price would have a percent of market value of 99.38%. By looking at the percent of selected metric value, it is apparent that the price from Seller B is a better value. As shown in the methods of FIGS. 5-7, this price normalization process allows users to compare inherently different offers having different quality and quantity values.
  • In yet another example of an application of the normalization process, additional exemplary data is used to demonstrate the analysis of a transaction having one RFQ from a buyer and two different quotes from a seller, normalized to comparable product of another species. In this example, the buyer produces an RFQ listing the following items: one carload of Eastern SPF (ESPF) lumber having four units of 2″×4″×8′, four units of 2″×4″×10′, six units of 2″×4″×12′, two units of 2″×4″×14′, and six units of 2″×4″×16′. The vendor then responds with two different quotes with two different unit tallies and two different prices. The first response lists a quote price of $320 per thousand board feet, and a slight modification of the tally provides four units of 2″×4″×8′, four units of 2″×4″×10′, six units of 2″×4″×12′, three units of 2″×4″×14′, and five units of 2″×4″×16′. The second response quotes per the requested tally at a price of $322 per thousand board feet. Both quotes list the delivery location as “Chicago.”
  • To display the quotes, the server 230 produces a Web page similar to that displayed in FIG. 8C, where the vendor's modified tally is displayed in highlighted text. The buyer can then view summary metric comparison or select the hypertext link “View Calculation Detail,” which then invokes the server 230 to produce a Web page as shown in FIG. 8D. Referring now to the Web page illustrated in FIG. 8D, the data produced by server 230 compares the response to a selected metric of a different species, Western SPF (WSPF), for items of the same size, grade, and tally. The market price for the same 2×4 tally of ESPF and WSPF are thus simultaneously compared. In an example, Eastern quoted at $322 per thousand board feet, Western metric (Random Lengths™ Jun. 26, 2000 print price plus freight of $80 as defined in Metric Manager) for the same tally being $331.791. This metric comparison is also represented as Quote/Metric Value or Eastern price representing 0.970490, or 97% of comparable Western product.
  • In review of the normalization process, the buyer must select a metric source for price information for a defined item given a set of attributes, i.e., grade, species, and size. The metric may then be mapped to the RFQ item for comparison and does not have to be the equivalent of the item. For instance, as explained in the above-described example, it may be desirable to map the market relationship of one commodity item to another. The most current pricing data for the metric is electronically moved from the selected source to the server 230. As mentioned above, metrics may come from publicly available information, (i.e., price of futures contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange), or subscription services, (i.e., Crowes™ or Random Lengths™ publications), or be an internal metric generated by the server 230. This metric data is used in the normalization process for all calculations, as described with reference to the above-described methods.
  • While various embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that within the scope of the appended claims, various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, in an agricultural commodity, an order for Wheat U.S. #2 HRW could be compared to a selected metric of Wheat U.S. #2 Soft White, similar to how different species are analyzed in the above-described example.
  • The above system and method can be used to purchase other commodity items, such as in the trade of livestock. In such a variation, order information such as a lumber tally would be substituted for a meat type, grade, and cut. Other examples of commodity items include agricultural products, metals, or any other items of commerce having several order parameters.

Claims (167)

1. In a networked service provider environment, a system comprising:
a service provider server comprising:
a network interface;
a non-transitory computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions stored thereon, wherein the computer-executable instructions, when executed, implement a metric manager and a metric application; and
a processor in communication with the network interface and the computer-readable medium, wherein the processor is configured to execute the computer-executable instructions stored in the computer-readable medium;
wherein:
the metric manager is programmed to manage at least one evaluation service and a plurality of predefined instructions for adapting metric data,
the metric application is programmed to manage invocation of the at least one evaluation service and execution of one or more predefined instructions for adapting metric data that pertain to the at least one evaluation service, and to manage one or more interfaces that facilitate communications with the service provider server, and
in operation, the metric application configures the service provider server to:
receive, from a remotely located user-agent computing device, via the network interface, one or more product specification data sets or price data sets, wherein each received data set identifies at least one item defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that includes two or more parameter values, or identifies a plurality of items defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value, wherein the parameter value or values represent attributes that are variable for the at least one item or items;
for at least one received data set, invoke the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one normalized metric value for at least one item identified in the received data set, wherein invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to:
obtain, from at least one data source accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item identified in the received data set, wherein each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value, wherein the metric data includes market reference price data for the one or more responsive items at a particular time or period of time, and wherein at least one responsive item in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the at least one item as identified in the received data set;
algorithmically process the attribute data for each responsive item in the metric data and the attribute data of the at least one item identified in the received data set to dynamically identify any differences, wherein the identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data;
normalize the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data, wherein execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for the at least one responsive item that differs by at least one parameter value, transforming the market reference price data and producing normalized metric data for the at least one item; and
generate the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the received data set, using the normalized metric data produced for the at least one item; and
wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, one or more of the received data sets and the respective at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the communicated data sets, to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device from which the one or more data sets were received.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is separate from the metric manager, and wherein coordinated operation of the metric application with the metric manager enables the at least one evaluation service to algorithmically process the attribute data to dynamically identify at least one relationship comprising a difference within the attribute data, including a new or previously unknown relationship, without relying on a pre-constructed model having a predefined relationship that remains fixed within the model and outputs predictable results.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain metric data from two or more different data sources and to produce normalized metric data for at least one item identified in a received data set by applying one or more adjustment values to the market reference price data in the obtained metric data, and to input the normalized metric data produced for the at least one item into at least one predefined or preselected method or algorithm that was preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to generate the at least one normalized metric value.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain metric data comprising a plurality of previously-exchanged market transaction data sets from one or more data sources and to produce a plurality of normalized market reference price data sets for the at least one item identified in the at least one received data set, wherein at least one adjustment value is applied to the market reference price data of at least one market transaction data set that differs, transforming the market reference price data and producing a plurality of normalized transaction data sets, and to input at least the price data of the plurality of normalized transaction data sets into at least one predefined or preselected method or algorithm that was preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to generate the at least one normalized metric value.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein the parameter values represent variable attributes including a grade, a rating measure, a species, an item type, a brand, a quantity, a size, a unit of measure, a tally, a location, a method of delivery, a delivery date, a time of service, a warranty, a payment term, or a transaction type.
6. The system of claim 5, wherein delivery comprises a financial delivery.
7. The system of claim 5, wherein the delivery date or time of service identified in at least one received data set or in the metric data specifies one or more fulfillment dates in the future.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the one or more received data sets identifies a bundle of items defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that differs by at least one parameter value or wherein at least one item identified in at least one received data set is a combined item that represents a packaged product or transaction, a tally, or an assembly of one or more component parts, wherein each component part is defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that differs by at least one parameter value.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein at least one combined item identified in a received data set comprises a packaged set of transactions, wherein each of transaction in the packaged set of transactions includes at least one item that is defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that includes two or more parameter values, or a plurality of items defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value.
10. The system of claim 8, wherein at least one received data set is a combined data set that combines a plurality of items or component parts that were identified by two or more user-agents, and wherein each item or component part in the combined data set is only offered in combination with all other items or component parts in the combined data set.
11. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to divide price data associated with at least one item identified in a received data set by the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item, to generate at least one relative value metric, comprising a ratio or index value, for the at least one item identified in the received data set, and to communicate, via the network interface, one or more of the received data sets and the respective at least one relative value metric generated for the at least one item identified in the communicated data sets, to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device from which the one or more data sets were received.
12. The system of claim 11, wherein the relative value metric comprises an adapted and proportional value that measures price in relation to the normalized metric value, and wherein the relative value metric generated for the at least one item in each received data set provides an objective measure to compare the at least one item across a plurality of received data sets, including one or more data sets wherein the at least one item differs by at least one parameter value.
13. The system of claim 11, wherein the metric application is further caused to rank or sort the subset of the received price data sets by the at least one relative value metric generated for the at least one item in each received price data set, and to communicate, via the network interface, only the ranked or sorted subset of the received price data sets to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device from which the one or more data sets were received.
14. The system of claim 13, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to the automatically limit the number of ranked or sorted price data sets communicated to a remotely located mobile computing device under control of the user-agent to a predefined number or predefined portion of the ranked or sorted price data sets for visual display in a constrained display space of the mobile computing device.
15. The system of claim 13, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to communicate at least one price data set with the lowest price for the at least one item in the price data set in relation to the normalized metric value generated for the at least one item in the price data set in a first or top position.
16. The system of claim 1, wherein execution of at least one predefined instruction that pertains to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to filter the responsive items in the metric data for inclusion or exclusion using one or more predefined control values, criteria, and/or parameter values, before generating the at least one normalized metric value for at least one item identified in the one or more received data sets.
17. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, facilitates data communication in XML format, enabling the metric application to dynamically change, dynamically route, and/or pre-configure data for movement of the data in an integrated data exchange.
18. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one evaluation service is predefined and stored in a memory, and invoked by the metric application in response to receiving, from the remotely located user-agent computing device, a product specification data set or a price data set identifying at least one item for the at least one evaluation service.
19. The system of claim 18, wherein a plurality of evaluation services are predefined and stored in the memory, and selectively invoked by the metric application.
20. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to receive identification of the one or more product specification data sets or price data sets from an application running on the remotely-located user-agent computing device in an integrated data exchange, and wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item identified in the at least one received data set to the application running on the remotely-located user-agent computing device, wherein the integrated data exchange does not include a pre-mapped or pre-structured electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the remotely located user-agent computing device, at least in part, to value or re-value an item for financial accounting or insurance purposes, to evaluate a selling price or an offer price, or to calculate or re-calculate a selling price or an offer price.
22. The system of claim 20, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the remotely-located user-agent computing device, at least in part, to value an over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange transaction, a basis trade or a hedge transaction, a forward contract, or to represent, at least in part, a value for:
at least one item underlying an exchange-traded contract, or
one or more items or component parts of an exchange-for-physical (EFP) transaction or a swap transaction (EFS), or another exchange-traded contract executed using an exchange-approved alternate-execution-procedure.
23. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, enables a user-agent computing device to predefine, for exclusive use by the user-agent, at least one instruction for adapting metric data or to modify at least one predefined instruction for adapting metric data, and further causes the metric manager to store the at least one predefined or modified instruction for retrieval when the at least one evaluation service is invoked by the metric application in response to receipt of a data set from the user-agent computing device, wherein coordinated operation of the metric application with the metric manager enables the at least one evaluation service to identify and execute the predefined instructions that pertain to the user-agent, providing an evaluation service that is customized for the user-agent without custom-coding computer-executable instructions that comprise the metric application.
24. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, enables a user-agent computing device to predefine one or more instructions for adapting metric data and preassociate the one or more instructions with attributes of an item, parameter, metric data source, event, and/or one or more other instructions, and to store the predefined and preassociated instructions in a memory for retrieval when the at least one evaluation service is invoked by the metric application in response to receipt of a data set from the user-agent computing device.
25. The system of claim 1, wherein the instructions for adapting metric data are not predefined for or pre-mapped to specific metric data.
26. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to evaluate the metric data for satisfaction of one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria and to only generate the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the received data set using metric data that satisfies the predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria, wherein the one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria cause the metric application to evaluate the metric data for at least one of: total volume in units per item per period of time specified; frequency/liquidity of the responsive metric data; concentration/fragmentation of the responsive metric data by the type of transaction; or concentration/fragmentation of the responsive metric data by the source of the metric data.
27. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric manager is programmed to manage one or more predefined instructions that are to be conditionally executed by the metric application, including:
one or more formulas operationally combining data values and using variables relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, or metric data sources; or
a combination of rules, variables or criteria, including validation rules, relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, metric data sources, obtained metric data, or normalized metric data values, the execution of which may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control; or
a combination of evaluation services, wherein at least one evaluation service is further combined with at least one predefined instruction that specifies employing a process step, action, function, or subroutine, or combined with at least one other evaluation service, wherein execution of the combined evaluation service may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control.
28. The system of claim 1, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to produce normalized metric data for the at least one item identified in a received data set based, at least in part, on a formula, rule, or correlation that is applied to the market reference price data of metric data for at least one other item, wherein the at least one other item is a substitute item or differs by at least one parameter value from the at least one item identified in the received data set.
29. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain updated metric data from at least one source of metric data accessible to the service provider server, wherein the updated metric data is for one or more items responsive to attributes of at least one item identified in the received data set and comprises more-current market reference price data for the at least one item or excludes previously-obtained metric data that is no longer responsive to the at least one item or no longer represents market reference price data associated with the at least one item at a particular time or period of time, and further causes the metric application to generate at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item using the more-current normalized metric data produced for the at least one item.
30. The system of claim 29, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to trigger an automatic alert that is communicated to one or more outputs in response to the more-current normalized metric value generated for the at least one item exceeding or falling below a predefined trigger value, wherein the predefined trigger value is expressed as a numerical value, a percent of change, or a ratio or index value.
31. The system of claim 29, wherein at least one predefined instruction that pertains to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to automatically update the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in one or more received data sets upon occurrence of a predefined event, at a predefined time, or over a predefined interval of time, wherein the predefined interval of time can include a continuously sliding interval of time that represents the most current period of time.
32. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to compare the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item to at least one previously-generated normalized metric value for the at least one item, a predefined base market value, or one or more market values reported by a third-party price reporting service for the at least one item, and to manage at least one interface to communicate a result of the comparison, via the network interface, to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device.
33. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one comparative metric in which the normalized metric value generated for at least one item identified in a received data set is compared to a futures exchange reported price for a traded contract that is responsive to the attributes of the at least one item identified in the received data set.
34. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that facilitates an integrated data exchange between the processor of the service provider server and at least one application running on a remotely located user-agent computing device, or facilitates an integrated data exchange with at least one other computing device in communication with the service provider server, via the network interface, and to execute movement of the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in at least one received data set in an integrated data exchange, wherein the integrated data exchange does not include a pre-mapped or pre-structured electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission.
35. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface wherein the service provider server prompts the user-agent computing device to identify or select at least one data element or function to be added to or removed from a currently in-progress evaluation service, or to provide additional information required by the currently in-progress evaluation service.
36. The system of claim 1, wherein the service provider server is accessible, via the network interface, to the user-agent computing device without specialized client application software on the user-agent computing device for accessing the service provider server and without a need to synchronize user-agent data across multiple computing devices used by the user-agent.
37. The system of claim 36, wherein at least one user-agent computing device in communication with the service provider server is a mobile computing device.
38. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to automatically query one or more databases or data sources accessible to the service provider server or to monitor one or more data streams to obtain metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item identified in a received data set.
39. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to generate the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in a received data set under multiple evaluation scenarios, wherein at least one evaluation scenario references an alternate item, alternate parameter, alternate time or period of time, alternate metric data source, or combination thereof, or wherein at least one evaluation scenario causes the metric application to filter the obtained metric data using one or more control values, criteria, or parameters before generating the normalized metric value for the at least one item, wherein the normalized metric values generated for the at least one item under the multiple evaluation scenarios are compared, and wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate a result of the comparison, via the network interface, to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device from which the one or more data sets were received.
40. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage multiple interfaces that, in operation, configure the service provider server to communicate for visual display the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item identified in at least one received data set to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device, via the network interface, wherein the multiple interfaces facilitate interactions that cause the metric application to expose underlying data in one or more layers of detail, to simultaneously display different data in multiple windows, to display linked information, or to display the same data in a different form or from one or more different sources of metric data or as determined at a different period of time.
41. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a computer-based interaction and comprising only electronically-created metric data to generate the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the received data set, wherein the electronically-created metric data does not include human-reported transaction data or transaction data that was manually transcribed into a digital format.
42. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a purchase or executed contract to generate the at least one normalized metric value.
43. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one received data set includes a quantity value for each item identified in the data set, and wherein the normalized metric value generated for each item in the data set comprises a comparable quantity.
44. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to consistently convert data expressed in units of measure into standardized or common units of measure, or units of measure specified for the at least one item identified in the received data set, and to only produce the normalized metric data for the at least one item identified in the received data set using data possessing consistent units of measure.
45. The system of claim 1, wherein the transformation of the market reference price data occurs independent of unit-of-measure conversion of data in the metric data for responsive items that are defined by a unit-of-measure.
46. The system of claim 1, wherein invocation of at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one subsequent evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one evaluation metric that provides a predefined performance measure, wherein the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item is a predefined data element that is automatically input into at least one predefined algorithm associated with the subsequent evaluation service to generate, at least in part, the predefined performance measure, and to manage at least one interface to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one evaluation metric to at least the remotely located user-agent computing device.
47. The system of claim 1, wherein the metric application is further programmed to produce electronic documentation required to audit at least one normalized metric value previously produced for at least one item identified in a received data set, wherein the metric application is programmed to document the data and process steps used by the at least one evaluation service to generate the at least one normalized metric value by replicating the process steps of the at least one evaluation service using the metric data that was previously associated with and used in each process step, and to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the electronic documentation to a remotely located computing device.
48. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the received data set comprises a synthetic value that represents market information and does not represent price data associated with an actual bid or offer-to-sell.
49. In a networked service provider environment, a system comprising:
a service provider server comprising:
a network interface;
a non-transitory computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions stored thereon, wherein the computer-executable instructions, when executed, implement a metric manager and a metric application; and
a processor in communication with the network interface and the computer-readable medium, wherein the processor is configured to execute the computer-executable instructions stored in the computer-readable medium;
wherein:
the metric manager is programmed to manage at least one evaluation service and a plurality of predefined instructions for adapting metric data,
the metric application is programmed to manage invocation of the at least one evaluation service and execution of one or more predefined instructions for adapting metric data that pertain to the at least one evaluation service, and to manage one or more interfaces that facilitate communications with the service provider server, and
in operation, the metric application configures the service provider server to:
retrieve from one or more data storages accessible to the service provider server at least one normalized metric value previously generated by the service provider server for at least one item, wherein the at least one item is defined by a plurality of attributes including two or more parameter values, or includes two or more items that are defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value, wherein the parameter values or value represents an attribute that is variable for the identified item or items;
for the at least one retrieved normalized metric value, invoke the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item, wherein invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to:
obtain, from at least one source of metric data accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item, wherein each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value, wherein the metric data includes market reference price data associated with the one or more items at a particular time or period of time, wherein the metric data includes more current data than metric data previously used to generate the at least one normalized metric value retrieved from the one or more data storages or excludes metric data for an item that is no longer responsive to the at least one item or no longer represents market reference price data associated with the one or more items, and wherein at least one responsive item in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the at least one item for which at least one normalized metric value was previously generated;
for each responsive item in the metric data, algorithmically process the attribute data of the responsive item and the attribute data of the at least one item to dynamically identify any differences, wherein the identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data;
normalize the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive items in the metric data, wherein execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for at least one responsive item that differs by at least one parameter value from the at least one item for which at least one normalized metric value was previously generated, transforming the market reference price data and producing more-current normalized metric data for the at least one item; and
generate at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item using the more-current normalized metric data produced for the at least one item; and
wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one more-current normalized metric value to at least one output.
50. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one comparative metric, wherein the at least one more-current normalized metric value generated for the at least one item is divided by the normalized metric value previously-generated for the at least one item, a predefined base market value, or one or more market values reported by a third-party price reporting service for the at least one item, producing a ratio or index value, and to manage at least one interface to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one comparative metric to the at least one output.
51. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to further generate at least one evaluation metric that measures a difference between the more-current normalized metric value generated for the at least one item and the normalized metric value previously generated for the at least one item, wherein the difference is expressed as a numerical value or a percent of change.
52. The system of claim 49, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to trigger an automatic alert that is communicated, via the network interface, to one or more outputs in response to the more-current normalized metric value generated for the at least one item exceeding or falling below a predefined trigger value, wherein the predefined trigger value is expressed as a numerical value, a percent of change, or a ratio or index value.
53. The system of claim 49, wherein execution of at least one predefined instruction that pertains to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to automatically update the at least one normalized metric value previously generated for the at least one item upon occurrence of a predefined event, at a predefined time, or over a predefined interval of time, wherein the predefined interval of time can include a continuously sliding interval of time that represents a most current period of time.
54. The system of claim 49, wherein the metric application is separate from the metric manager, and wherein coordinated operation of the metric application with the metric manager enables the at least one evaluation service to algorithmically process the attribute data to dynamically identify at least one relationship comprising a difference within the attribute data, including a new or previously unknown relationship, without relying on a pre-constructed model having a predefined relationship that remains fixed within the model and outputs predictable results.
55. The system of claim 49, wherein execution of at least one predefined instruction that pertains to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to filter the one or more responsive items in the metric data for inclusion or exclusion using one or more predefined control values, criteria, and/or parameter values, before generating the at least one more-current normalized metric value for at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated.
56. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain metric data from two or more different data sources and to generate the at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated by applying one or more adjustment values to the market reference price data in the metric data obtained from the two or more different data sources, and to input the normalized metric data produced for the at least one item into at least one predefined or preselected method or algorithm that was preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to generate the at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item.
57. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain metric data comprising a plurality of previously-exchanged market transaction data sets from one or more data sources and to produce a plurality of normalized market reference price data sets for the at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated, wherein at least one adjustment value is applied to the market reference price data of at least one market transaction data set that differs, and to input at least the price data of the plurality of normalized market reference price data sets into at least one predefined or preselected method or algorithm that was preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to generate the at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated.
58. The system of claim 49, wherein the parameter values represent variable attributes including a grade, a rating measure, a species, an item type, a brand, a quantity, a size, a unit of measure, a tally, a location, a method of delivery, a delivery date, a time of service, a warranty, a payment term, or a transaction type.
59. The system of claim 58, wherein delivery comprises a financial delivery.
60. The system of claim 58, wherein the delivery date or time of service is in the future.
61. The system of claim 49, wherein the at least one item for which at least one retrieved normalized metric value was generated is a bundled or combined transaction that identifies a plurality of items that vary by at least one parameter value.
62. The system of claim 61, wherein the bundled or combined transaction comprises a packaged set of transactions, wherein each transaction in the packaged set of transactions includes at least one item that is defined by two or more parameter values, or a plurality of items that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value.
63. The system of claim 49, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, facilitates data communication in XML format, enabling the metric application to dynamically change, dynamically route, and/or pre-configure data for movement of the data in an integrated data exchange.
64. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to evaluate the metric data for satisfaction of one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria and to only generate the at least one more-current normalized metric value using metric data that satisfies the predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria, wherein the one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria cause the metric application to evaluate the metric data for at least one of: total volume in units per item per period of time specified; frequency/liquidity of the responsive metric data; concentration/fragmentation of the responsive metric data by the type of transaction; or concentration/fragmentation of the responsive metric data by the source of the metric data.
65. The system of claim 49, wherein the metric manager is programmed to manage one or more predefined instructions that are to be conditionally executed by the metric application, including:
one or more formulas operationally combining data values and using variables relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, or metric data sources; or
a combination of rules, variables or criteria, including validation rules, relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, metric data sources, obtained metric data, or normalized metric data values, the execution of which may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control; or
a combination of evaluation services, wherein at least one evaluation service is further combined with at least one predefined instruction that specifies employing a process step, action, function, or subroutine, or combined with at least one other evaluation service, wherein execution of the combined evaluation service may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control.
66. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to dynamically apply all of the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data and to only generate the more-current normalized metric value when all adjustments resulting from the executed instructions have been applied.
67. The system of claim 49, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service cause the metric application to obtain metric data for at least one alternate item, wherein the alternate item is a substitute item and/or differs by at least one parameter value from the at least one item for which the at least one normalized metric value was previously generated, and further causes the metric application to generate the at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item using, at least in part, normalized metric data for the at least one alternate item.
68. The system of claim 49, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that facilitates an integrated data exchange between the processor of the service provider server and at least one application running on a remotely located computing device in communication with the service provider server, via the network interface, and to execute movement of the at least one more-current normalized metric value in an integrated data exchange, wherein the integrated data exchange does not include a pre-mapped or pre-structured electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission.
69. The system of claim 68, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the remotely located computing device, at least in part, to value or re-value an item for financial accounting or insurance purposes, to evaluate a selling price or an offer price, or to calculate or re-calculate a selling price or an offer price.
70. The system of claim 68, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the remotely-located other computing device, at least in part, to value an over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange transaction, a basis trade or a hedge transaction, a forward contract, or to represent, at least in part, a value for:
at least one item underlying an exchange-traded contract, or
one or more items or component parts of an exchange-for-physical (EFP) transaction or a swap transaction (EFS), or another exchange-traded contract executed using an exchange-approved alternate-execution-procedure.
71. The system of claim 49, wherein the service provider server is accessible, via the network interface, to a plurality of remotely-located computing devices without specialized client application software on the remotely-located computing devices for accessing the service provider server.
72. The system of claim 71, wherein at least one remotely-located computing device in communication with the service provider server is a mobile computing device.
73. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to automatically query one or more databases or data sources accessible to the service provider server or to monitor one or more data streams to obtain more-current metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated.
74. The system of claim 49, wherein, when generating the at least one more-current normalized metric value, the metric application is programmed to use the same process steps that were previously used to generate the retrieved normalized metric value for the at least one item.
75. The system of claim 49, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage multiple interfaces that, in operation, configure the service provider server to communicate the at least one more-current normalized metric value to a remotely located computing device, via the network interface, and wherein the multiple interfaces facilitate interactions that cause the metric application to expose underlying data in one or more layers of detail, to simultaneously display different data in multiple windows, to display linked information, or to display the same data in a different form or from one or more different sources of metric data or as determined at a different period of time.
76. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a computer-based interaction and comprising only electronically-created metric data to generate the at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated, wherein the electronically-created metric data does not include human-reported transaction data or transaction data that was manually transcribed into a digital format.
77. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a purchase or executed contract to generate the at least one more-current normalized metric value for the at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated.
78. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to consistently convert data expressed in units of measure into standardized or common units of measure, or units of measure specified for the at least one item for which the retrieved normalized metric value was previously generated, and to only produce the normalized metric data for the at least one item using data possessing consistent units of measure.
79. The system of claim 49, wherein the transformation of the market reference price data occurs independent of unit-of-measure conversion of data in the obtained metric data for responsive items that are defined by a unit-of-measure.
80. The system of claim 49, wherein invocation of at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one subsequent evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one evaluation metric that provides a predefined performance measure, wherein the at least one more-current normalized metric value is a predefined data element that is automatically input into at least one predefined algorithm associated with the subsequent evaluation service to generate, at least in part, the predefined performance measure, and to manage at least one interface to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one evaluation metric to at least one output.
81. In a networked service provider environment, a system comprising:
a service provider server comprising:
a network interface;
a non-transitory computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions stored thereon, wherein the computer-executable instructions, when executed, implement a metric manager and a metric application; and
a processor in communication with the network interface and the computer-readable medium, wherein the processor is configured to execute the computer-executable instructions stored in the computer-readable medium;
wherein:
the metric manager is programmed to manage at least one evaluation service and a plurality of predefined instructions for adapting metric data,
the metric application is programmed to manage invocation of the at least one evaluation service and execution of one or more predefined instructions for adapting metric data that pertain to the at least one evaluation service, and to manage one or more interfaces that facilitate communications with the service provider server, and
in operation, the metric application configures the service provider server to:
retrieve, upon occurrence of a predefined event, at a predefined time, or over a predefined interval of time, from one or more data storages or data sources accessible to the service provider server, at least one previously processed product specification data set or price data set, wherein the at least one retrieved data set identifies at least one item defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that includes two or more parameter values, or identifies a plurality of items defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value, wherein the parameter value or values represent attributes that are variable for the at least one item or items; and
for at least one retrieved data set, invoke the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one normalized metric value for at least one item identified in the retrieved data set, wherein invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to:
obtain, from at least one source of metric data accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the at least one item in the retrieved data set, wherein each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value, wherein the metric data includes market reference price data associated with the one or more items at a particular time or period of time, and wherein one or more responsive items in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set;
algorithmically process the attribute data for each responsive item in the metric data and the attribute data of the at least one item in the retrieved data set to dynamically identify any differences, wherein the identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data;
normalize the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive items in the metric data, wherein execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for the one or more responsive items that differ by at least one parameter value from the at least one item in the received data set, transforming the market reference price data and producing normalized metric data for the at least one item; and
generate at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set using the normalized metric data produced for the at least one item; and
wherein the metric application is further programmed to use the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set in at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the at least one retrieved data set to at least one remotely-located computing device.
82. The system of claim 81, wherein the predefined interval of time can include a continuously sliding interval of time that represents a most current period of time.
83. The system of claim 81, wherein the at least one retrieved data set was previously received by the service provider server and stored in one or more data storages accessible to the service provider server.
84. The system of claim 81, wherein the metric application is separate from the metric manager, and wherein coordinated operation of the metric application with the metric manager enables the at least one evaluation service to algorithmically process the attribute data to dynamically identify at least one relationship comprising a difference within the attribute data, including a new or previously unknown relationship, without relying on a pre-constructed model having a predefined relationship that remain fixed within the model and outputs predictable results.
85. The system of claim 81, wherein the instructions for adapting metric data are not predefined for or pre-mapped to specific metric data.
86. The system of claim 81, wherein the parameter values represent variable attributes including a grade, a rating measure, a species, an item type, a brand, a quantity, a size, a unit of measure, a tally, a location, a method of delivery, a delivery date, a time of service, a warranty, a payment term, or a transaction type.
87. The system of claim 86, wherein delivery comprises a financial delivery.
88. The system of claim 86, wherein the delivery date or time of service is in the future.
89. The system of claim 81, wherein at least one retrieved data set identifies a bundle of items defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that differs by at least one parameter value or wherein at least one item identified in at least one retrieved data set is a combined item that represents a packaged product or transaction, a tally, or an assembly of one or more component parts, wherein each component part is defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that differs by at least one parameter value.
90. The system of claim 89, wherein the combined item identified in at least one retrieved data set comprises a packaged set of transactions, wherein each transaction in the packaged set of transactions identifies at least one item that is defined by two or more parameter values, or a plurality of items that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value.
91. The system of claim 89, wherein at least one retrieved data set is a combined data set that combines a plurality of items or component parts that were identified by two or more user-agents, and wherein each item or component part in the combined data set is only offered in combination with all other items or component parts in the combined data set.
92. The system of claim 81, wherein price data associated with at least one item identified in a retrieved data set is specified as a formula in which the price of at least one item is to be determined at one or more times in the future using, at least in part, one or more prespecified market prices that are to be reported or one or more prespecified normalized metric values that are to be generated at one or more times in the future, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to automatically obtain the reported market prices or to generate the one or more normalized metric values and to determine the price for at the least one item in accordance with the formula at the one or more times specified, and to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the price determined for the at least one item and the at least one metric value generated for the at least one item in the retrieved data set to at least one output.
93. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to divide price data associated with at least one item identified in a retrieved price data set by the at least one normalized metric value generated for the at least one item identified in the retrieved price data set, to generate at least one relative value metric, comprising a ratio or index value.
94. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of at least one predefined instruction that pertains to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to filter the responsive items in the metric data for inclusion or exclusion using one or more predefined control values, criteria, and/or parameter values, before generating the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set.
95. The system of claim 81, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, facilitates data communication in XML format, enabling the metric application to dynamically change, dynamically route, and/or pre-configure data for movement of the data in an integrated data exchange.
96. The system of claim 81, wherein the metric manager is programmed to manage one or more predefined instructions that are to be conditionally executed by the metric application, including:
one or more formulas operationally combining data values and using variables relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, or metric data sources; or
a combination of rules, variables or criteria, including validation rules, relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, metric data sources, obtained metric data, or normalized metric data values, the execution of which may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control; or
a combination of evaluation services, wherein at least one evaluation service is further combined with at least one predefined instruction that specifies employing a process step, action, function, or subroutine, or combined with at least one other evaluation service, wherein execution of the combined evaluation service may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control.
97. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to dynamically apply all of the predefined instructions that are applicable to the one or more responsive items identified in the metric data and to only generate the normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set when all adjustments resulting from the instructions have been applied.
98. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to evaluate the metric data for satisfaction of one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria and to only generate the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set using metric data that satisfies the predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria, wherein the one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria cause the metric application to evaluate the metric data for at least one of: total volume in units per item per period of time specified; frequency/liquidity of the responsive metric data; concentration/fragmentation of the responsive metric data by the type of transaction; or concentration/fragmentation of the responsive metric data by the source of the metric data.
99. The system of claim 81, wherein at least one retrieved price data set was exposed to the service provider server, via the network interface, by at least one seller-agent and/or third-party intermediary, without prompting by the service provider server, wherein the at least one exposed price data set was stored in at least one data storage accessible to the service provider server until retrieved by the metric application.
100. The system of claim 81, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain metric data for at least one alternate item, wherein the alternate item is a substitute item and/or differs by at least one parameter value from the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set, and further causes the metric application to generate at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the retrieved data set using, at least in part, normalized metric data produced for the at least one alternate item.
101. The system of claim 81, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to compare the one or more normalized metric values generated for the at least one item in the retrieved data set to at least one previously-generated normalized metric value for the at least one item, a predefined base market value, or one or more market values reported by a third-party price reporting service for the at least one item, and to manage at least one interface to communicate a result of the comparison to the at least one remotely-located computing device.
102. The system of claim 81, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to trigger an automatic alert that is communicated to one or more outputs in response to the normalized metric value generated for at least one item identified in a retrieved data set exceeding or falling below a predefined trigger value, wherein the predefined trigger value is expressed as a numerical value, a percent of change, or a ratio or index value.
103. The system of claim 81, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that facilitates an integrated data exchange between at least one application running on a remote computing device in communication with the service provider server, and to execute movement of the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item identified in the at least one retrieved data set in the integrated data exchange, via the network interface, wherein the integrated data exchange does not include a pre-mapped or pre-structured electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission.
104. The system of claim 81, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the remotely located computing device, at least in part, to value or re-value an item for financial accounting or insurance purposes, to evaluate a selling price or an offer price, or to calculate or re-calculate a selling price or an offer price.
105. The system of claim 81, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the remotely-located user-agent computing device, at least in part, to value an over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange transaction, a basis trade or a hedge transaction, a forward contract, or to represent, at least in part, a value for:
at least one item underlying an exchange-traded contract, or
one or more items or component parts of an exchange-for-physical (EFP) transaction or a swap transaction (EFS), or another exchange-traded contract executed using an exchange-approved alternate-execution-procedure.
106. The system of claim 81, wherein the at least one remotely-located computing device in communication with the service provider server is a mobile computing device.
107. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution at least one predefined instruction for adapting metric data that pertains to the at least one evaluation service enables the metric manager to identify an item from a plurality of attributes that were predefined and preassociated with the item, or alternately, to identify a plurality of attributes to be associated with a predefined item.
108. The system of claim 107, wherein execution of one or more of the predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to query one or more data storages or data sources accessible to the service provider server for transaction data sets responsive to a plurality of attributes that were predefined and preassociated with the item, and to retrieve at least one data set, wherein the at least one retrieved data set identifies at least one item defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data responsive to the plurality of attributes that were predefined and preassociated with the item.
109. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to automatically query one or more databases or data sources accessible to the service provider server or to monitor one or more data streams to obtain metric data for the one or more items responsive to the attributes of the item or items in the retrieved data set.
110. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to produce at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in a retrieved data set under multiple evaluation scenarios, wherein at least one evaluation scenario references an alternate item, alternate parameter, alternate time or period of time, alternate metric data source, or combination thereof, or wherein at least one evaluation scenario causes the metric application to filter the obtained metric data using one or more control values, criteria, or parameters before generating the normalized metric value for the at least one item, wherein the normalized metric values generated for the at least one item under the multiple evaluation scenarios are compared, and wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate a result of the comparison, via the network interface, to the at least one remotely-located computing device.
111. The system of claim 81, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage multiple interfaces that, in operation, configure the service provider server to communicate for visual display the at least one normalized metric value generated for the item or items identified in at least one retrieved data set to at least one remotely-located computing device, and wherein the multiple interfaces facilitate interactions that enable an exposure of underlying data in one or more layers of detail, a simultaneous display of different data in multiple windows, a display of linked information, or a display of the same data in a different form or from one or more different sources of metric data or as determined at a different period of time.
112. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a computer-based interaction and comprising only electronically-created metric data to generate the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the at least one retrieved data set, wherein the electronically-created metric data does not include human-reported transaction data or transaction data that was manually transcribed into a digital format.
113. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a purchase or executed contract to generate the at least one normalized metric value for the at least one item identified in the at least one retrieved data set.
114. The system of claim 81, wherein the at least one retrieved data set includes a quantity value for each item identified in the data set, and wherein the normalized metric value generated for each item in the data set comprises a comparable quantity.
115. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to consistently convert data expressed in units of measure into standardized or common units of measure, or units of measure specified for the at least one item identified in the at least one retrieved data set, and to only produce the normalized metric data for the at least one item using data possessing consistent units of measure.
116. The system of claim 81, wherein the transformation of the market reference price data occurs independent of unit-of-measure conversion of data in the metric data for responsive items that are defined by a unit-of-measure.
117. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one adjustment value corresponding to each parameter value that differs in the responsive metric data for the item from the parameter value of the item as identified in the retrieved data set using one or more predefined algorithms that were preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, including a least squares or curve-fit algorithm, wherein the at least one adjustment value serves to minimize a difference between the metric data for the item with the differing parameter and (1) an average of the market reference price data of responsive items in the metric data at the particular time or period of time, or (2) market reference price data generated from a control group of items that are responsive to at least one parameter of the identified item, and wherein the at least one adjustment value is applied to the market reference price data of the responsive item with at least one differing parameter value.
118. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one subsequent evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one evaluation metric that provides a predefined performance measure, wherein the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item in the retrieved data set is a predefined data element that is automatically input into at least one predefined algorithm associated with the subsequent evaluation service to generate, at least in part, the predefined performance measure, and to manage at least one interface to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one evaluation metric to the remotely-located computing device.
119. The system of claim 118, wherein the at least one predefined algorithm produces a business performance measure and/or a financial performance measure that was predefined in at least one instruction and preassociated with the at least one subsequent evaluation service.
120. The system of claim 81, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to expose to at least one tracking system at least a subset of the data received or generated by the service provider server, wherein the exposed data is defined by a time or period of time.
121. The system of claim 81, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage one or more interfaces to control one or more preprogrammed utilities or functions or applications that pertain to at least one evaluation service running on the service provider server or a remotely-located computing device in communication with the service provider server, and to execute movement of data in an integrated data exchange between the service provider server and the at least one preprogrammed utility or function or application.
122. The system of claim 81, wherein the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item identified in the at least one retrieved data set comprises a synthetic value that represents market information and does not represent actual price data associated with an actionable bid or offer-to-sell.
123. In a networked service provider environment, a system comprising:
a service provider server comprising:
a network interface;
a non-transitory computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions stored thereon, wherein the computer-executable instructions, when executed, implement a metric manager and a metric application; and
a processor in communication with the network interface and the computer-readable medium, wherein the processor is configured to execute the computer-executable instructions stored in the computer-readable medium;
wherein:
the metric manager is programmed to manage at least one evaluation service and a plurality of predefined instructions for adapting metric data,
the metric application is programmed to manage invocation of the at least one evaluation service and execution of one or more predefined instructions for adapting metric data that pertain to the at least one evaluation service, and to manage one or more interfaces that facilitate communications with the service provider server, and
in operation, the metric application configures the service provider server to:
invoke, upon occurrence of a predefined event, at a predefined time, or over a predefined interval of time, the at least one evaluation service to automatically generate at least one normalized metric value for one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, wherein the one or more items are predefined by a plurality of attributes, wherein at least one item is defined by attribute data that includes two or more predefined parameter values, or a plurality of items are defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one predefined parameter value, wherein invoking the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to:
obtain, from at least one data source accessible to the service provider server, metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of an item predefined and preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, wherein each of the one or more responsive items in the metric data is defined by attributes having attribute data that includes at least one parameter value, wherein the metric data includes market reference price data for the one or more responsive items at a particular time or period of time, and wherein at least one responsive item in the metric data differs by one or more parameter values from the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service;
algorithmically process the attribute data for each responsive item in the metric data and the attribute data of the at least one item as predefined and preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to dynamically identify any differences, wherein the identified differences in the attribute data are used to contextually determine which of the predefined instructions are applicable to the responsive item in the metric data;
normalize the metric data by executing the predefined instructions that are applicable to the responsive items in the metric data, wherein execution of the predefined instructions causes one or more adjustment values to be generated and applied to the market reference price data for the one or more responsive items that differ by at least one parameter value, transforming the market reference price data and producing normalized metric data for the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service; and
generate the at least one normalized metric value for one or more of the items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, using the normalized metric data produced for the one or more items; and
wherein the metric application is further programmed to use the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service in at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, to at least one other computing device, via the network interface.
124. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, enables an item to be predefined by a plurality of attributes and further enables the predefined item to be preassociated with one or more evaluation services, and to store the attributes in association with the predefined item, wherein the stored attributes are automatically associated with the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service when the at least one evaluation service is invoked by the metric application.
125. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, enables one or more instructions to be preassociated with attributes of an item, a parameter, a metric data source, an event, and/or one or more other instructions, and stored in the metric manager for retrieval when the at least one evaluation service is invoked by the metric application.
126. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric application is separate from the metric manager, and wherein coordinated operation of the metric application with the metric manager enables the at least one evaluation service to algorithmically process the attribute data to dynamically identify at least one relationship comprising a difference within the attribute data, including a new or previously unknown relationship, without relying on a pre-constructed model having a predefined relationship that remain fixed within the model and outputs predictable results.
127. The system of claim 123, wherein the instructions for adapting metric data are not predefined for or pre-mapped to specific metric data.
128. The system of claim 123, wherein the predefined interval of time can include a continuously sliding interval of time that represents a most current period of time.
129. The system of claim 123, wherein the parameter value or values represent attributes that are variable for an item as predefined and preassociated with the at least one evaluation service.
130. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain responsive metric data from two or more different data sources and to produce normalized metric data for at least one item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, wherein one or more adjustment values are applied to the market reference price data of one or more responsive items, and wherein at least the price data of the normalized metric data produced for the at least one item from the two or more different data sources is input into at least one predefined or preselected method or algorithm that was preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to generate the at least one normalized metric value.
131. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain metric data comprising a plurality of previously-exchanged market transaction data sets from one or more data sources and to produce a plurality of normalized transaction data sets for at least one item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, wherein at least one adjustment value is applied to the market reference price data of one or more market transaction data sets that differ from the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, transforming the market reference price data and producing a plurality of normalized transaction data sets, and to input at least the price data of the plurality of normalized transaction data sets into at least one predefined or preselected method or algorithm that was preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to generate the at least one normalized metric value.
132. The system of claim 123, wherein the parameter value or values represent variable attributes including a grade, a rating measure, a species, an item type, a brand, a quantity, a size, a unit of measure, a tally, a location, a method of delivery, a delivery date, a time of service, a warranty, a payment term, or a transaction type.
133. The system of claim 132, wherein delivery comprises a financial delivery.
134. The system of claim 132, wherein the delivery date or time of service is in the future.
135. The system of claim 123, wherein at least one item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service comprises a bundle of items defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that differs by at least one parameter value, wherein the bundle of items is to be collectively evaluated as a single item, or wherein at least one item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service is a combined item that represents a packaged product or transaction, a tally, or an assembly of one or more component parts, wherein each component part is defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that differs by at least one parameter value from another component part.
136. The system of claim 135, wherein at least one combined item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service comprises a packaged set of transactions, wherein each transaction in the packaged set of transactions includes at least one item that is defined by a plurality of attributes having attribute data that includes two or more parameter values, or a plurality of items defined by a plurality of attributes that differ in accordance with at least one parameter value.
137. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, enables a predefined item to be further preassociated with one or more other predefined items, item attributes, parameters, data storages or data sources, or events, and/or with one or more other predefined instructions, collectively forming a compound, grouped, or multi-variant data element.
138. The system of claim 137, wherein at least one predefined instruction further associates a unique label or code with the predefined compound, grouped, or multi-variant data element, wherein upon identification of the unique label or code, the metric application automatically executes all the predefined instructions associated with the item.
139. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to evaluate the metric data for satisfaction of one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria and to only generate the at least one normalized metric value for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service using metric data that satisfies the predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria, wherein the one or more predefined validation rules and/or statistical criteria cause the metric application to evaluate the metric data for at least one of: total volume in units per item per period of time specified; frequency/liquidity of the metric data for the at least one item; concentration/fragmentation of the metric data by the type of transaction; or concentration/fragmentation of the metric data by the source of the metric data.
140. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric manager is programmed to manage one or more predefined instructions that are to be conditionally executed by the metric application, including:
one or more formulas operationally combining data values and using variables relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, or metric data sources; or
a combination of rules, variables or criteria, including validation rules, relating to a plurality of items, parameters, events, metric data sources, obtained metric data, or normalized metric data values, the execution of which may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control; or
a combination of evaluation services, wherein at least one evaluation service is further combined with at least one predefined instruction that specifies employing a process step, action, function, or subroutine, or combined with at least one other evaluation service, wherein execution of the combined evaluation service may be conditional, priority weighted, sequential, recursive, or subject to another prespecified method of control.
141. The system of claim 123, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to produce normalized metric data for the an item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service based, at least in part, on a formula, rule, or correlation that is applied to the market reference price data for at least one other item, wherein the at least one other item is a substitute item or differs by at least one parameter value from the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service.
142. The system of claim 123, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to compare the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to a normalized metric value generated for at least one other item, wherein the other item is a different item or an item that differs by at least one parameter value, and to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the comparison to at least one other computing device.
143. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to obtain updated metric data from at least one data source accessible to the service provider server, wherein the updated metric data is for one or more items responsive to attributes of an item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, wherein the updated metric data includes more-current market reference price data for the item or excludes previously-obtained metric data that is no longer responsive to the item or no longer represents market reference price data associated with the item at a particular time or period of time, and further causes the metric application to generate at least one more-current normalized metric value for the item using the more-current normalized metric data produced for the item.
144. The system of claim 143, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one more current normalized metric value generated for one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, to at least one other computing device.
145. The system of claim 143, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to update the at least one normalized value generated for one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, at a predefined time, or over a predefined interval of time, upon occurrence of a predefined event, or continuously, wherein a sliding interval of time represents a most current period of time.
146. The system of claim 143, wherein at least one more-current normalized metric value is generated for one or more of the items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service over a range of times and/or delivery dates, wherein the range of times and/or delivery dates can include one or more times in the future.
147. The system of claim 143, wherein execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to trigger an automatic alert that is communicated to one or more computing devices in response to the more-current normalized metric value generated for at least one item exceeding or falling below a predefined trigger value, wherein the predefined trigger value is expressed as a numerical value, a percent of change, or a ratio or index value.
148. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to compare the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items to at least one previously-generated normalized metric value for the one or more items, a predefined base market value, or one or more market values reported by a third-party price reporting service for the one or more items, and to manage at least one interface to communicate a result of the comparison, via the network interface, to at least one other computing device.
149. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one comparative metric in which the normalized metric value generated for at least one item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service is compared to a futures exchange reported price for a traded contract that is responsive to the attributes of the at least one item identified in the at least one as predefined and preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, and to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one comparative metric to at least one other computing device.
150. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to measure the value of the difference between the normalized metric value generated for an item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service and a futures exchange reported price for a traded contract that is responsive to the attributes of the item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service.
151. The system of claim 150, wherein the value of the difference is a predefined data value that is automatically input into at least one predefined algorithm preassociated with the at least one evaluation service or a subsequent evaluation service.
152. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that facilitates an integrated data exchange between the processor of the service provider server and at least one application running on at least one other computing device in communication with the service provider server, via the network interface, and to execute movement of the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service in an integrated data exchange, wherein the integrated data exchange does not include a pre-mapped or pre-structured electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission.
153. The system of claim 152, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the other computing device, at least in part, to value or re-value an item for financial accounting or insurance purposes, to evaluate a selling price or an offer price, or to calculate or re-calculate a selling price or an offer price.
154. The system of claim 152, wherein the at least one normalized metric value is used by the application running on the other computing device, at least in part, to value an over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange transaction, a basis trade or a hedge transaction, a forward contract, or to represent, at least in part, a value for:
at least one item underlying an exchange-traded contract, or
one or more items or component parts of an exchange-for-physical (EFP) transaction or a swap transaction (EFS), or another exchange-traded contract executed using an exchange-approved alternate-execution-procedure.
155. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to automatically query one or more databases or data sources accessible to the service provider server or to monitor one or more data streams to obtain metric data for one or more items responsive to attributes of the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service.
156. The system of claim 123, wherein execution of at least one predefined instruction that pertains to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to filter, for inclusion or exclusion, the responsive items in the metric data using one or more predefined control values, criteria, or parameters, and to use only a filtered segment of the obtained metric data to generate the at least one normalized metric value for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service.
157. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to consistently convert data expressed in units of measure into standardized or common units of measure, or units of measure specified for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, and to only produce the normalized metric data for the one or more items using data possessing consistent units of measure.
158. The system of claim 123, wherein the transformation of the market reference price data occurs independent of unit-of-measure conversion of data in the metric data for responsive items that are defined by a unit-of-measure.
159. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of at least one subsequent evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one subsequent evaluation service causes the metric application to generate at least one evaluation metric that provides a predefined performance measure, wherein the at least one normalized metric value generated for at least one item is a predefined data element that is automatically input into at least one predefined algorithm associated with the subsequent evaluation service to generate, at least in part, the predefined performance measure, and to manage at least one interface to communicate, via the network interface, the at least one evaluation metric to at least one other computing device.
160. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, facilitates data communication in XML format, enabling the metric application to dynamically change, dynamically route, and/or pre-configure data for movement of the data in an integrated data exchange.
161. The system of claim 123, wherein at least one other computing device in communication with the service provider server is a mobile computing device.
162. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to generate the at least one normalized metric value for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service under multiple evaluation scenarios, wherein at least one evaluation scenario references an alternate item, alternate parameter, alternate time or period of time, alternate metric data source, or combination thereof, or wherein at least one evaluation scenario causes the metric application to filter the obtained metric data using one or more control values, criteria, or parameters before generating the normalized metric value for the one or more items, wherein the normalized metric values generated for the one or more items under the multiple evaluation scenarios are compared, and wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage at least one interface that, in operation, configures the service provider server to communicate a result of the comparison, via the network interface, to at least one other computing device.
163. The system of claim 123, wherein the metric application is further programmed to manage multiple interfaces that, in operation, configure the service provider server to communicate for visual display the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service to at least one other computing device, and wherein the multiple interfaces facilitate interactions that enable an exposure of underlying data in one or more layers of detail, a simultaneous display of different data in multiple windows, a display of linked information, or a display of the same data in a different form or from one or more different sources of metric data or as determined at a different period of time.
164. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a computer-based interaction and comprising only electronically-created metric data to generate the at least one normalized metric value for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, wherein the electronically-created metric data does not include human-reported transaction data or transaction data that was manually transcribed into a digital format.
165. The system of claim 123, wherein invocation of the at least one evaluation service and/or execution of one or more predefined instructions that pertain to the at least one evaluation service causes the metric application to use only metric data resulting from a purchase or executed contract to generate the at least one normalized metric value.
166. The system of claim 123, wherein the at least one predefined instruction includes a quantity value for each item preassociated with the at least one evaluation service, and wherein the normalized metric value generated for each item comprises a comparable quantity.
167. The system of claim 123, wherein the at least one normalized metric value generated for the one or more items preassociated with the at least one evaluation service comprises a synthetic value that represents market information and does not represent actual price data associated with an actionable bid or offer-to-sell.
US14/808,854 2000-06-28 2015-07-24 Automated system for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of items Active US9412117B2 (en)

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US09/607,502 US7043457B1 (en) 2000-06-28 2000-06-28 System and method for managing and evaluating network commodities purchasing
US11/394,540 US7840462B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2006-03-31 System and method for managing and evaluating network commodities purchasing
US12/952,083 US7966240B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2010-11-22 System and method for managing and evaluating network commodities purchasing
US13/118,351 US8224729B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2011-05-27 System and method for managing and evaluating network commodities purchasing
US13/475,900 US8321317B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2012-05-18 System and method for managing and evaluating network commodities purchasing
US13/597,200 US8442888B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2012-08-28 Managing and evaluating price data for purchasing
US13/869,942 US8762258B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2013-04-24 System and method for managing and evaluating network commodities purchasing
US14/262,682 US9092825B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2014-04-25 Automated system for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of items
US14/740,630 US9418371B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2015-06-16 Automated system for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of items
US14/808,854 US9412117B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2015-07-24 Automated system for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of items

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US15/231,546 US9542689B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2016-08-08 Automated system for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of items

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US15/641,083 Active US10055719B2 (en) 2000-06-28 2017-07-03 Automated system and method for adapting market data and evaluating user-specified configurations
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